Today we played an 1866 naval fleet action using my recently completed 1:600 scale Italian and Austrian fleets.
We had four players. Of the Austrians one player took command of all of the ironclads, seven in total, while the other player took control of the wooden ships, one ship of the line, four frigates, one corvette and one gunboat. The Italian fleet was divided into two squadrons, one consisting of seven ironclads, while the second squadron consisted of five ironclads and two wooden frigates.
The Italians moved first. Because they had a significantly larger force of ironclads, the second squadron was held back for two turns. The two opposing fleets were sufficiently distant that it took four turns before the first ships came into range. The Italians turned first and opened fire, but every shot bounced harmlessly off the Austrian hulls.
The Italians Turn
The Austrians sailed directly for the Italians aiming to ram them. Don Juan d'Austria slammed into Regina Maria Pia. The Austrian ship did damage, but failed to sink the Italian vessel. The Don Juan was stopped dead, but the Italian slipped away. Meanwhile the Kaiser Max rammed the Re d'Italia, with decisive results. The Italian vessel sank on the spot, although Kaiser Max had her steering damaged and was forced to turn hard to port for two turns.
The Italians soon struck back ramming the Don Juan with the two ironclad corvettes, sinking her on the spot.
By now the Austrian wooden ships had entered the fray. Despite their powerful broadsides, they had little impact on the Italian fleet. It was the ironclads that continued to do the damage. Another Italian ironclad went down.
Then the Austrian frigate Radetsky, that had lost control of its steering accidenally rammed the Affondatore. But this was a wooden ship against an ironclad and result was quite predictable: Radetsky sank, causing only minimal damage to Affondatore.
The whole table was now a swirling mass of ships. Three of them had lost control of their steering and were steaming in circles. Most of the broadsides proved ineffective.
The circling fight
Next it was the Austrian wooden ship of the line Kaiser, that was to suffer. Despite her massive broadside, she found it difficult to do any damage to the Italian ironclads that dominated that site of the table. Kaiser, her paint still soft from the painting table, was consigned to the depths.
Finally the Austrians were able to get a critical hit on Castelfidardo and she sank. Here the game ended. The Italians had lost four ironclads to the Austrian's one ironclad and two wooden ships. Two more of the Austrian ships had taken significant damage, but their remaining wooden ships were now up close to the more vulnerable Italian ships, and were in good condition. One of the Italian ironclads was in a very poor state, two more were heavily damaged and one of the wooden frigates was very low in the water. The Austrians took the honours for the day.
Play lasted from 11:00 am to around 4:00 pm and fun day was had by all.